Happy Fair season, Houston While we can’t promise you’ll be able to buy your favorite fried something on a stick, you might be able to find the next love of your life, if you are an art lover. Yes, it’s time once again to get your art on for the Houston Fine Art Fair.
With four days (September 9-12) and over 40 local, national and international galleries, plus numerous art organizations and institutes represented there’s almost too much to see. So I went to the expert, Rick Friedman, president of Hamptons Expo Group to discover the state of the fair for 2015.
Friedman believes HFAF is continuing to be “international in scope” with a “broad spectrum of paintings, works on paper and sculpture” that will inspire. However, this year they’re also trying something new, which is something old. Well, not exactly old as much as traditional. Friedman wants HFAF to be true to their motto of being “The City’s Art Fair” and therefore a fair of many artistic flavors, that it should have “something for everyone.” He’s talked with advisors and designers that know Houston well and decided to bring in more offerings for those with perhaps more conservative tastes.
“This year we’ve introduced a little bit of modern, maybe even Texas school. The idea was if there are people who have interior design in their homes that are more traditional and conservative, Southern interior design and maybe those pieces might work better for them,” Friedman explained, going on to say he believes that the Fair should also be offering art for those who aren’t necessarily going to prefer more “cutting edge contemporary” works.
Beyond a wider range of galleries and offerings, there’s a wealth of programming, exhibitions and installations. To help you plan your Fair-going experience at NRG Center, here's our own curated list of what not to miss.
Opening Night Party
Art is meant to be celebrated, which is may be why some of the best parties throughout the year seem to happen at museums and galleries. There will be two chances to party with the art Wednesday night, September 9. First, at 6 pm, the Fair's Black Card holders will receive a 90 minute private access first look. The wine should still be flowing at 7:30 pm for the VIP preview party. The evening benefits FotoFest International.
Houston Artists Hall of Fame
Take time from perusing the Fair’s collection of galleries both national and international to appreciate some very local art at the second edition of the Houston Artist Hall of Fame exhibition, curated by art critic and Contemporary Art in Texas author, Patricia Johnson. The Hall of Fame will showcase works by seven new inductees: David Aylsworth, Gertrude Barnstone, Mark Flood, Joseph Glasco, Havel/Ruck Projects, Aaron Parazette, Gael Stack, Richard Stout, Troy Woods, Ed Wilson and Dick Wray.
Do we have enough great artists in this city past and present to keep building extensions on this hall of fame every year? Yes, says Friedman.
“Patricia Johnson, who has been an astute observer of the scene for many years, felt that there’s more than just 15 [from the 2014 Hall of Fame], that there are several more people who have contributed,” Friedman said. “The idea is that it’s an historical retrospective from the '70s to present day and I think we needed two years to do it.”
Dorothy Hood Retrospective
Keeping that Texas focus will be a very special sneak peek at the Art Museum of South Texas (Corpus Christi) exhibition Dorothy Hood (1918-2000) The Color of Being/El Color del Ser, scheduled for September 2016. Though the Bryan-born, Houston-raised modernist artist who spent decades in Mexico hanging out with artists like Diego Rivera and Fahlo is considered to be a pioneering and influential abstract surrealist painter, her work has sometimes been “overlooked” according to Friedman.
Don’t miss the documentary film Dorothy Hood: The Color of Life followed by a talk with Joe Schenk, Director of the Art Museum of South Texas on Saturday.
We might think of paper as only that mostly two dimensional, dead tree stuff that artists draw and paint atop, but when manipulated and sculpted, paper can become beautiful 3D sculptures, and even large installations. This exhibition of contemporary works that use paper as a medium will include four Latin-America artists, Alfredo Gisholt, Maribel Portela , Miler Lagos who specialize in creating drawings and sculptures in and with paper.
Look, Listen and Ask
During my talk with Friedman, he continued to stress that he wants HFAF to inspire all kinds of art lovers that they can also become collectors.
“It’s not just a show for the 500 art aficionado in town,” he asserted. “We’re really reaching out to thousand and thousand of people, young professional, educated, cultural people who really want to learn about art, get involved and would like to acquire a piece and begin building a collection.”
Part of that reaching out involves offering advice and information in the forms of talks and panel discussions for both experienced collectors and novices alike. Whether you’ve been buying art for years or almost (maybe, perhaps) ready to make your first purchase, you might want to check out: “What You Need to Know About Collecting Latin American Art” moderated by Rose Salum, Editor/Owner of Revista Literal (Mexico) on September 10 and “I’ll Take It–From Looking to Acquiring” moderated by curator and collector Clint Willour on September 11.
Above all, Friedman is hoping this year’s HFAF will bring more excitement to the city, giving Houstonians the “fun, thrill and satisfaction of collecting art.”